Workshop Safety Requirements

Did you know that educational workshops fall under the same health and safety regulations as places of work when it comes to standards and safety of machinery and its operation?

Schools, colleges and other educational establishments are covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which places a general duty on employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of not only employees, but also other persons affected by their activities, including students. Furthermore, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to perform risk assessments to identify what should be done to comply with the general duty and any relevant Regulations made under this Act.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) place specific requirements on employers to ensure that all work equipment is safe; two of the main requirements are for employers to provide safe work equipment that conforms to relevant safety standards, and ensure that, where necessary, appropriate safety devices are available. Any dust extraction (LEV) systems in your workshops should also meet relevant COSHH standards.

In August 2014, BSI published BS 4163: 2014 ‘Health and safety for design and technology in schools and similar establishments – Code of practice’. This Code of Practice (CoP) provides a means of demonstrating that reasonably practicable steps have been taken to minimise the risks from machinery and other hazards. There is no legal requirement to comply with the CoP, being a best practice guide, but you must legally ensure compliance with the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and PUWER 98.

The Design and Technology Association (DATA) gives the following advice to educational establishments about what they can do to ensure that comply with relevant health and safety law, as well as follow the best practice laid out in BS 4163: 2014:

‘It is recommended that all schools should keep a record of maintenance for all machinery and equipment. D&T departments are recommended to develop a recorded maintenance programme made up of daily, weekly, termly and annual checks on all machinery and equipment… Good annual checks should go beyond just breakdown maintenance, carried out normally only after faults or failure have occurred, but also include planned preventative maintenance (e.g. replacing parts or making necessary adjustments so that risks do not occur as a result of the deterioration or failure of the equipment) and condition-based maintenance (e.g. involving monitoring the condition of safety critical parts and carrying out maintenance necessary to avoid hazards which could otherwise occur). In summary… it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that the machinery and equipment is appropriately maintained… (and they) need to be satisfied that those carrying out the work are competent… and… following an accident, …would be considered competent to carry out maintenance work in a court of law.’

IPM Workshop Services Ltd provides a comprehensive range of educational workshop services that can help you ensure that you are fully compliant with all necessary legislation. Our engineers are fully qualified to carry out the full range of design, installation, maintenance and repair work. Contact us today for professional and competent advice about all your workshop needs.